I've got a 1994 Nissan pickup.

  • I had new shocks installed about 3 years ago
  • I replaced the ball joints about 2 years ago
  • I replaced the tie rods and front brake calipers about 1 year ago
  • I had the center link replaced about 1 year ago

I put less than 10,000 miles a year on the truck, so the shocks (Monroe Matic, Lifetime Warranty) should have under 30,000 miles on them.

I started noticing a rattling or jiggling noise coming from the front of the truck about a year ago, but a front end alignment shop (Meineke) told me I had rocks in my heat shields.

My exhaust manifolds had bad leaks, so about a month ago I removed them to install headers. Now, I do not have any heat shields.

I do, however, still have that same rattle/giggle noise coming from the front of the truck.

I took the truck to a tire shop, but the mechanic was not able to find it. He said he could not even hear the noise.

I finally captured this noise by using a plastic cable tie to secure a recorder to the inside of the fender well on my truck.

YouTube • Nissan D21 Front Suspension Mystery Rattle

The sound is very apparent starting about 5 seconds into the clip and continues until about 23 seconds in. After that, the wind noise picked up and made the sound impossible to hear.

I want to get some ideas from someone on what I should check. It sounds like a nut is lose and some part is about to fall off.

  • I can hear it... but there's a lot of hardware in the front of that pickup, so it's really hard to tell exactly what it is. Commented Aug 25, 2014 at 1:04
  • One guy on YouTube has pointed out the wheel bearings - which I changed out when I put new rotors on the front.
    – jp2code
    Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 20:34
  • That sounds too... "airy" a rattle to be wheel bearings, to my ear. This is the sort of thing that may be nearly impossible to really track down without actually recording video/audio at the front suspension while driving over a few select bumps to see if the sound component begins on a wheel upstroke or downstroke, watch for shock absorber motion, antisway bar bushing motion, etc. Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 21:34
  • Yeah. There just isn't anywhere to mount a camera. The MP3 recorder is tiny and can mount anywhere. The speakers don't even have to be pointed at the source.
    – jp2code
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 11:33
  • Do you know anyone with a small junk cellphone? One with a back camera? Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 12:25

3 Answers 3


Could this be it?

YouTube • Nissan D21 Front Suspension Mystery Rattle [SOLVED!]

The brake caliper appears to be lose.

  • First, I certainly hope that wheel was under the truck! That sure sounds like the right sound... and if you haven't unbolted that caliper and retracted the piston, it should not be anything like that loose. Even with the mounting bolts removed, the piston's residual pressure should have held the caliper more tightly than that. That is rapid wear on the hoof. Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 22:59
  • LOL - I had jack stands under the frame. My skills with The Force aren't that good. I wasn't sure if calipers were supposed to rattle like that. I replaced them and the rotors a year or so ago, so I probably did something wrong. I'll take it in to have it corrected. Thanks!
    – jp2code
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 11:38

Could be a host of things, common stuff that rattles to check:

  • Hood latch if it's coming from the front
  • Ball joints
  • Front sway bar end-links -> if those are worn they often just rattle on the bolt!
  • Engine mounts
  • Brake heat shields - often these rust off and rattle
  • This question has already been answered. It was the brake calipers.
    – jp2code
    Commented Apr 14, 2020 at 8:29

For anyone else with this issue, just to throw in another thing to check: engine splash shield. If this is loose, you'll hear a rattling sound.

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